God's Judgment of Man's Senseless Life

(a meditation on Luke 12:20-21)

Luke 12:20-21
20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ 21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

In v. 20, we can see God’s action in the parable. He looks at the man’s life and His judgment is quite sobering. It's very serious. God calls the man “fool!” The word fool here is not the same word which Jesus forbids His disciple to call a brother (Mt. 5:22). Rather, this word is similar to that term which the book of Proverbs likes to use in contrast of people who are wise. The word fool here therefore may also carry an immoral kind of life.

So in God’s judgment, the rich man’s selfish pursuit of wealth and personal happiness, without any regard of God, is plain senselessness or vanity, a ‘striving after wind,’ as the book of Ecclesiastes calls it.

This is so because, as Jesus said in Luke 12:15b, “a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." The man in the parable obviously did not consider God in all his plans. He did not even think about death or about the life to come. He is preoccupied with all his riches and the pleasures he can get from it.

I am not saying that seeking pleasures is absolutely wrong. But when pleasures are sought apart from serving God and loving others, these pleasures are illegitimate and selfish.

The point here therefore is that, a life that is worth in God’s sight is one that ‘lays up treasure’ not for one’s self but for God and for His kingdom (cf. Luke 12:21).

Foolishness characterizes the lives of those who seek to please and live for themselves in the here and now only. But blessed are those who seek to please God and store up heavenly and eternal treasures for they will surely be satisfied at the right time. Be on your guard against all kinds of materialism!

May the grace of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, enable us to overcome and displace this idolatry of greed in us. May we learn to follow Christ with contentment and simplicity, always seeking to serve Him by serving others.

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